E-bike performance is about more than just the amount of juice an e-bike will give and how long the power will last. It’s important to think about how the bike will be used, where it will be ridden and how it’ll handle the different conditions you’re likely to encounter. For example, are you planning to ride year-round or do you plan to take your bike off paved paths and roads?
Here are some things to consider when assessing e-bike performance:
Generally, e-bike performance is measured by two factors: motor wattage and battery watt hours. For the best motor performance, you’ll want a bike with a high continuous torque motor, as this will bring together power and speed. The result is better acceleration and hill climbing. It should weigh as little as possible.
Electric bike batteries are not something to compromise on. Cheap batteries rarely give even close to the watt hours they claim. When comparing bikes, keep your commute in mind, in addition to whether you’ll have regular access to a power source for charging, and if you plan to go on extended cycling trips. Look for a bike that’s equipped with a battery that is lightweight, has a long storage life and can transfer power at a low current.
Acceleration and sustained hill climbing ability
While motor power and battery information are the performance ratings you can find for most e-bikes, they don’t provide much information when it comes to comes to communicating the experience. For example, how quickly does the bike go from full stop to full speed, or how long can it power up hills before giving out? To get a fuller picture of how an e-bike functions, it’s important to inquire about the bike’s acceleration and sustained hill climbing abilities.
Safety is another important consideration. This is where braking power comes in. Many bikes are equipped with caliper brakes or mechanical disc brakes. These typically get the job done, but are easily surpassed by hydraulic disc brakes when it comes to precision and control. Hydraulic disc brakes stop twice as fast and are especially great because they remain effective even when conditions are wet.
At minimum, a good e-bike should have front and rear lights. LED lights can be up to five times brighter than other lights while consuming less power and requiring less maintenance, as the bulbs don’t need to be replaced. For added safety, look for a bike with daytime running lights. Another feature you can look for is a spatial light strip that allows drivers to estimate their distance to you.
Electric bikes are a long-term investment. Knowing what to look for is important because an investment in performance now will feel like a bargain in the future. What are your must-haves for an e-bike that meets your needs?